Migrant workers' deaths: Govt says it has no data. But didn't people die? Here is a list - Mukesh Rawat
The Modi govt has told Parliament it does not have data of migrant workers who died during the lockdown. India Today sheds light on data documenting those who died while desperately trying to reach their homes.
While presenting the Union Budget 2020 in Parliament on February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman outlined the importance of data and said that in order to meet challenges of real-time monitoring of India's increasingly complex economy, "data must have strong credibility". She said the significance of data today is such that the phrase "data is the new oil" has become a cliché.
In order to address this need for "credible data", Sitharaman proposed a policy aimed at boosting decision-making based on credible data-driven analysis. "It will enable our firms to skilfully incorporate data in every step of their value chains," the finance minister had said.
However, just seven months after outlining the significance of "credible data", the Narendra Modi government on September 14 informed Parliament that it has not maintained any data on the number of migrant workers who died while trying to reach their homes after the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus was announced.
To know details of the migrant crisis, Lok Sabha MPs K Navaskani, Suresh Narayan Dhanorkar and Adoor Prakash asked the Modi government if it is aware that a number of migrant workers lost their lives during their return to their hometowns. Besides this, the MPs sought to know if the government had provided any compensation/economic assistance to the victims' family.
To this, the Union Ministry for Labour and Employment in a written reply said, "No such data is maintained", and that the answer to the question on compensation "does not arise" since there is no data.
When asked if it has done any assessment of job losses among migrant workers due to the Covid-19 crisis, the government again replied, "No such data is maintained".
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IndiaToday.in, 16 September, 2020, https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/migrant-workers-deaths-govt-says-it-has-no-data-but-didn-t-people-die-here-is-a-list-1722087-2020-09-16